It is easy to find an expensive and really good wine for a special occasion, a time where most of us are prepared to splash out. But what about finding really good everyday drinking which doesn’t break the bank?
So many mass-market, inexpensive (and sadly not so inexpensive) wines taste manipulated: too much alcohol, too much sweetness, too much oak (chips), “hard” added acidity, or they are just thin, or even worse, characterless and boring. We have been voraciously mining the supermarket shelves in recent weeks, looking for new “diamonds in the rough” and have discovered some good wines in all categories:
The first “fizz” is Blanquette de Limoux 2014
from Aldi’s Exquisite range, which we thought an excellent example of this regional “fizz” with bright lemony freshness, and chalky minerality making it very more-ish. We thought this £7.99 wine was worth £10.00 of anyones’ money.
A completely different style of “fizz”, and again typical of the best of it’s type, is the 2014 Marques de Portola Cava on the shelves in Asda for £7.98. Now Cava can sometimes be very rustic almost “earthy” , but this wine has lovely, rich quince/ripe red apple fruit with a creamy mousse and rich intensity of flavour. Again we thought this worth a £9.00 so good value. BUY HERE
Muscadet is so much better these days. We are pleased to say that the thin, green acetic wines of the 70’s and 80’s which went a long way to destroying it’s sales in the UK, are over. Most are now very good, decent value and well made.
It is still one of the best wines to drink with shellfish, and at it’s best it has the smell of the Atlantic ocean, of fresh citrus, and a bright but almost creamy “mouth feel” due to deliberate contact in the later production process with yeast lees (yeast deposits).
A good example is on sale in Aldi with their Exquisite Collection 2014 Muscadet Sur Lie. This has lovely lemony fruit, crisp brightness and nice ripe juicy, almost acacia honey weight. Its on sale for £5.99, and worth at least £7.00. BUY HERE.
We also tasted the 2015 vintage now in some shops. This was still good but as one would expect this is brighter and very crisp, with a touch of petillance (small amounts of carbon dioxide gas in the wine sometimes called “spritz”) and would benefit from a few months to settle.
Our first red is for those of our wotwine? users who like big, dark cherry fruit and a taste of minerality from where it comes from. The 1000 meters high slopes of Mount Etna in Sicily are home to a very appealing thick skinned grape called Nerello Mascalese and Morrisons have a lovely young juicy wild berry and black cherry flavoured Contrade Bellusa Nerello Mascalese 2015, which we loved for it’s fruit, it’s character, it’s gentle use of oak and it’s ability to make you want the next glass! Great everyday drinking for £7.50 and worth every penny. BUY HERE
Waitrose also have a little star in their 2013 Valle de Viento Old Vine Carinena, from Aragon in Spain. The place also gives it’s name to the grape often known as Carignan, but more often Mazuelo in most of Spain. This is very nicely made and displays light but juicy red fruit, but again it has some character and complexity which makes it a great “more-ish” every day wine. At £6.49, arguably one of the best value wines in Waitrose! BUY HERE